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The largest of the Caribbean's Windward Islands, St. Lucia has long been a top honeymoon destination. Between the idyllic beaches—ranging from silvery white to black sand—lush rainforests and volcanic peaks, it breeds romance. The northern part is full of resorts oriented toward couples, but the wilder south (biggest city: Soufriére) is far more magical. Many airlines, including Jet Blue, Delta and American Airlines, fly directly into St. Lucia's Hewanorra International Airport in Vieux Fort, so getting to the island has never been easier.
With so many options, we rounded up your best bets for a 3-day itinerary, perfect for a romantic mini-moon or as a first stop on an island hop!
Start out slow. You'll likely arrive in the late afternoon the day before, so take your time making your way from the airport (it's about an hour drive) and count this as your first full day! If money's no object, you'll have checked into one of the luxurious Anse Chastanet hotel's treehouses on stilts, with prime views of the ocean (and no TV or telephone). Start your day off by descending the 100 steps to the hotel's secluded Anse Mamin beach below for excellent snorkeling along with grilled fish or curry for lunch at the beachside Jungle Grill.
If you're looking for a scene, a boutique vibe, and one of the most inventive restaurants on the island, the Hotel Chocolat is the one to pick. Local farmers contribute their cocoa-crops to the hotel's restaurant, Boucan, where all recipes call for cacao or chocolate (like cacao tortellini or cacao nib oil drizzled risotto). Either way, manage your way to Anse Mamin beach on day one, which feels secluded but is open to the public.
St. Lucia is one of the premier Caribbean destinations for scuba diving, so an outing is a must. Scuba St. Lucia at the Anse Chastanet is considered one of the best schools on the island, and the dive off that coast one of the must-see locations by PADI. Landlubbers can also opt for mountain-bike trails through 8th-century plantation ruins offered by Bike St. Lucia.
Consider starting the evening with a rum and cigar pairing at Sugar Beach resort's Cane Bar. But save your energy. Friday nights are known for parties called jump-ups, which take place in fishing villages around the island and involve lots of grilled seafood, icy Piton beer and live calypso music.
For a bit of a challenge—and impeccable views of the Caribbean—hike one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, Pitons, St. Lucia's two volcanic mountains. Gros Piton is the broader volcanic spire, while ironically Petit Piton is much steeper. You'd be advised to hire a local guide before setting out on either.
Journey to St. Lucia's capital, Castries, to check out the popular Reduit beach and the buzzing open-air markets. The fantastic produce, spices and street foods are worth a quick stroll with a fresh coconut. (Or stay in Soufriére where there's a Saturday morning market and several shops.)
For decades the Coal Pot has been recognized as one of the island's most iconic restaurants — and most romantic. Book ahead to feast on French-Caribbean dishes like St. Lucian crab back, red snapper, and duck at the tiny hidden gem on the the Vigie Marina.
Wake up to watch the sunrise and visit the therapeutic mud baths at Sulphur Springs for a soothing and smoothing dip before the sun heats them too much. Next, see the restored 18th-century mineral pools at the Diamond Botanical Gardens nearby, along with exotic flora and fauna.
Experience some of St. Lucia's indigenous products either with a tour of Mourne Coubaril Plantation, to learn about the coffee and sugar history, or a rum tour at a distillery. Fill your bellies with the locally sourced buffet at Fond Doux Estate's Jardin Cacao, where you can also taste plenty of the plantation's chocolate.
Make the trek out to Rainforest Hideaway—by car, then ferry—for a Champagne toast under twinkling bistro lights and stars. While a jazz band plays, nosh on a prix-fixe menu featuring local specialties like lionfish or meats and native veggie cookies with herbs from the backyard garden.
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